Travel Tales

A Travel Playlist

In anticipation of the Most Awesome Summer Ever, I updated my phone with a Summer 2013 playlist! It includes songs that I feel would best serve as a backing soundtrack for those moments when I’m lying catatonic on a beach chair, spending a night out with my companions, or looking at the landscape through a bus window.

Here are my ten favorite songs in the playlist. Be forewarned: I love pop music.

1. “Cups (You’re Gonna Miss Me)” by Lulu and the Lampshades

I first heard this song on (where else?) Pitch Perfect. Apparently, the original version was recorded by the Mainers Mountaineers in the 1930s — listen to some country music here. I think I can relate to what it says about wanderlust:

I’ve got my ticket for the long way ’round
These feet weren’t built to stay too long
And I’ll go there on my own,
But you’ll miss me when you’re home
It’s for you, dear, that I sing this song.

2. “Good Life” by OneRepublic

This is possibly one of my favorite songs ever. I could see myself riding a jeepney on topload with the wind whipping my hair, singing, “Oh, this has got to be the good life!” Have you ever had the feeling of waking up in the morning, and it takes a few seconds before it sinks in that you are not home? Sounds like the good life to me.

On a more personal note, there was a time when my students and I were singing this together during one of those periods after a big, exhausting school activity. I’m smiling right now as I remember it.

3. “Love on Top” by Beyonce

There’s nothing travel-related about this song, but this was the soundtrack of my Summer 2012; it was on repeat when we were in that eight-hour bus ride from Cubao to Naga on our way to Caramoan. The four key changes in last minute of the song was also a staple during those nights in Boracay when we were walking by the beach and pretty much didn’t care if we did not have Beyonce’s range.

4. “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield

I feel like this is a song I could sing with girls — it brings to mind my college dormmates who’d sing this song with a little scream: “STARING AT A BLANK PAGE BEFORE YOU, OPEN UP THE DIRTY WINDOW!” “RELEASE YOUR INHIBITIONS, FEEL THE RAIN ON YOUR SKIN!”

Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

I should say that this is a much more poetic way of saying YOLO.

5. “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson

I’ll spread my wings and I’ll learn how to fly
I’ll do what it takes till I touch the sky
And I’ll, make a wish, take a chance, make a change
And break away

Flying is such an apt metaphor for, um, breaking away and embarking on that difficult journey toward following what you want in life. Traveling is just one of those things. (Also: The Princess Diaries. Enough said.)

6. “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Greenday

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don’t know where it goes
But it’s home to me and I walk alone
I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
When the city sleeps
And I’m the only one and I walk alone

Here’s another ubiquitous metaphor: a road or pathway. Sometimes the road is lonely, and sometimes we can just accept that that’s the way our life is.

7. “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton

Moving (quite suddenly) on to happier songs: I love the music video of this song, in which Vanessa Carlton appears to be moving with her piano through the city, to the beach, and back again.

8. “Cheers (Drink to That)” by Rihanna

This ought to be the anthem of summer night outs. So it’s all about getting drunk. What I found cool, though, was this line that called to mind Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale: “Don’t let the bastards get you down.” I never realized I’d find an allusion in a song about drinking.

9. “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys

I like to think that Alicia Keys was thinking of Katniss Everdeen when she wrote this song (she wasn’t). I’m loving her flawless, soaring voice and the drum beats that screams girl power.

10. “When You Come Back Down” by Nickel Creek

A song about coming back home, and having someone wait for you there, to cap off this list.

When you’re soaring through the air
I’ll be your solid ground
Take every chance you dare
I’ll still be there
When you come back down.

Beautiful. On yet another personal note, this was the soundtrack of my Summer of 2007, when I left my first job for one that’s near home. Thankfully, he’s still there. 🙂

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